Sunday, October 27, 2013

No Welcome Home: Post War Prodigals (Black Soldiers and the Vietnam War)

Recently I was reminded of the death of a colleague of mine (Harold "Light Bulb" Bryant) when  I encountered a harsh critique from an African-American soldier who had fought in Vietnam. His anger and resentment echoed in the stories I heard from Harold and from some of those recalled in the Wallace Terry book, Blood: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (New York: Ballantine Books, 1984).   What people so often forget is what these battle-weary men faced upon their return home. What these courageous men who fought in Vietnam expected to hear when they returned home to the United States was applause, approval and smiling faces. Instead of a heroes welcome, they were met with protesters and antagonistic liberals; who spat on them and called them baby killers. Tenacious coverage of the war by the media only served to reinforce pictures of horror and dread, and probably led to this behavior. In any event, for the men willing to sacrifice their lives and forced by a war to watch their friends and fellow soldiers die, this treatment just seemed inconceivable. Even worse, for the young African-American soldier, the Civil-Rights struggle that he left back home had yet to yield its proverbial fruits. So returning home for them was even more bitter-sweet than for their Caucasian compatriots. Add to this the noncommittal attitude that the government demonstrated towards the war effort and one can begin to appreciate the magnitude of disenchantment that these men must have experienced.
Unlike the WW2 veterans who went before them and were offered opportunities at every corner, the stereotypical response that numerous Americans had of these Vietnam War veterans was an image of defeat, drug abuse, and shame. In truth, these men had been sent to a foreign land to fight a war that the American government never resolved itself to win. The ambiguous decisions of the policymakers and their failure to fully commit to the war left thousands of families in mourning, and many more thousands of vets wondering aimlessly. In particular, black soldiers left Vietnam wondering about the struggle for equality going on in a nation that seemed somehow to neglect and marginalize them. Black soldiers were unwanted when they left, and unwanted again when they returned home, despite their gallantry in a far-away land. Nonetheless, black or white, these men faced similar difficulties, and the resultant despondency that many of them shared due to the war was widespread.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Contsance Germany (Konstanz, Deutschland) and the Rude Awakening

So - I just recently returned from Constance, Germany.The photo immediately below is a picture of Konstanzer Münster (Constance Cathedral) and the one below is taken from the spire area atop the cathedral looking out onto Lake Constance (known to German speakers as der Bodensee). September is a wonderful time of the year to be in this part of Germany (Baden-Württemburg).

Konstanzer Münster (Münster Unserer Lieben Frau)
The lake lies on the north side of the Swiss Alps, at the meeting point of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, forming part of the course of the River Rhine.
A view of Lake Constance from the Konstanzer Münster

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Dinner with My Son...

With both my children all grown up, it's not often that I get to sit down and have a meal with them....just because. So, while my husband was being busy with his job and my son home from a little road trip, I decided to cook us dinner. Cooking is one of my hobbies and favorite things to do, especially when I'm preparing a meal for someone else.
I recently had purchased Trisha Yearwood's cookbooks and decided this would be a good time to try it her way. I'm so glad I did! For starters, Trisha fixes her mac n cheese in a crockpot! I've never had it this way or prepared in this manner. I must tell you that it was very delicious! I fixed the roast beef with gravy. It takes 3 hours for both to cook so, I was able to go off and do other things. I loved that!
And then, for dessert, I fixed her quick and easy apple dumplings. I was a little hesitant about it because I'm accustomed to fixing them from scratch BUT oh my goodness....they were very scrumptious.
My son loved it and so did I! I can't wait to try some of the other recipes Trish's way.

Crockpot Mac N Cheese